Library

The library contains a wealth of information on the circular economy for use by policy makers and analysts conducting impact assessments. For more information on impact assessments and the EU's Better Regulation Agenda, please click here.

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    Circular economy in Europe: Developing the knowledge base

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Almut Reichel, Mieke De Schoenmakere, Jeroen Gillabel

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2016

    This report seeks to help policy makers to better understand the circular economy, by focusing on four of its dimensions; the main enabling factors and transition challenges, indicators for measuring progress and contextual issues. One of the main conclusions regarding the monitoring of progress is that for now the focus is on developments in resource efficiency and waste management, which covers a part, but not the whole, of the circular economy. More data is needed on eco-design, the sharing economy, and repair and reuse. Furthermore, social indicators, industrial symbiosis indicators...

    Delivering the circular economy - a toolkit for policymakers

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Andrew Morlet et al.

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2016

    This report wants to provide countries and their policy makers who are interested in a transition to the circular economy with a toolkit. To test this toolkit, a case study was performed for Denmark. It focused on opportunities in several sectors; food and beverage, construction and real estate, machinery, plastic packaging and hospitals. Eight important conclusions were drawn:

    • The transition to a circular economy can deliver the expected lasting benefits of a more innovative, resilient and productive economy.
    • The circular economy provides many opportunities that are...

    Circular economy: a commentary from the perspectives of the natural and social sciences

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    European Academies Science Advisory Council

    Source: 

    EASAC

    Year: 

    2015

    This commentary by the EASAC primarily examines the proposed benefits and potential enabling policies of the circular economy. A broad range of sources is used to recognize gaps and inadequacies in proposed benefits and policies in order to foster a substantial discussion among stakeholders as to how to proceed in the transition process. The study also examines barriers and indicators and comments on their nature and efficacy respectively. Furthermore, the commentary provides advice regarding avoidance of barriers and the use of proper indicators.

    Resource-efficient green economy and EU policies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Roberto Zoboli, Susanna Paleari, Giovanni Marin, Massimiliano Mazzanti, Francesco Nicolli, Anna Montini, Valeria Miceli, Stefan Speck

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2014

    This report wants to contribute to a better understanding of the green economy and all the major forces and policies involved. It predominantly focuses on improving resource efficiency from a macro-economic perspective, for which eco-innovation is a primary enabling factor. However, the spread of technologies derived from eco-innovation often is obstructed by several barriers, such as finance, knowledge, costs, markets etc. Fiscal reforms, like environmental taxes and emission trading schemes are also crucial major enabling factors, but to what extent depends on their design (rebound...

    Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paul Ekins, Nick Hughes et al.

    Source: 

    International Resource Panel

    Year: 

    2017

    "This report examines the potential for increasing resource efficiency in industrialized countries, including the G7, emerging economies and developing countries. It focuses on the use of natural resources and the environment, including energy, land, water, raw materials: biotic and abiotic, marine and freshwater, oceanic and terrestrial. The evidence base includes the recent and ongoing work of the International Resource Panel, as well as that of a number of international organizations that have addressed this issue. The report also seeks to identify transboundary effects and discusses...

    TRIS

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    Industrial Symbiosis (IS) is a building block of the Circular Economy, a means to sustainable growth increasing resource efficiency and SMEs competitiveness and resiliency (COM(2014) 398 final/2). Despite the acknowledged advantages, IS is not yet fully widespread. The challenge TRIS is facing is to enable a systemic uptake of IS in 5 European regions, supporting policy makers to increase the competitiveness of their SMEs by introducing IS practices. To do so, the TRIS consortium will: Identify facilitating elements and obstacles and embed them in (or remove them from) the appropriate...

    SYMBI

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    SYMBI General objective is to empower regions to build sustainable economies, resilient to en-vironmental pressures and climate change. The project will support the implementation of policy instruments and measures for the diffusion of industrial symbiosis, to add value, reduce production costs and relieve environmental pressures through increased resource efficiency and green house gas emissions. "SYMBI aims at supporting the transition towards a resource-efficient economy through industrial symbiosis, establishing territorial synergies to manage waste and exchange energy & by-...

    Circular by design: Products in the circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mieke De Schoenmakere, Jeroen Gillabel

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2017

    "This report explores the circular economy from a product perspective, applying a systemic approach and transition theory. Drivers of product design and usage are discussed in the context of emerging consumption trends and business models. For governance to be effective, it has to address the product life-cycle and the societal context determining it. Indicators and assessment tools will be needed to fill the current data and knowledge gaps." (p. 6)

    The Service Economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    OECD

    Source: 

    OECD

    Year: 

    2000

    The report outlines the changes of the economies of OECD countries to become more service oriented. Because the article was published in 2000 it lacks the specificity to discuss PaS in depth, but is useful in general discussions of service oriented economies.

    The role of public policy in advancement of product service systems

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    O. Mont, T. Lindhqvist

    Source: 

    The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University

    Year: 

    2003

    PSS companies face a variety of barriers to entry, government policy action can be taken to mitigate these barriers. However, actions taken must ensure that the PSS companies that are supported are environmentally sustainable. To do this, environmental policies should be implemented by governments that indirectly benefit sustainable PSS companies that further sustainable practices. These policies include pricing mechanisms, information dissemination, reductions of transaction costs, support of environmental research efforts, and promotion of case studies. The Swedish EPA successfully...

    Spreading the rooftop revolution: What policies enable solar-as-a-service

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Harold Overholm

    Source: 

    University of Cambridge Institute for Manfacturing

    Year: 

    2015

    Overholm explains the concept of third party ownership solar firms, where customers pay for solar as a service. Firms maintain ownership of panels, maintain them, install them, and navigate the legal and logistical obstacles of individual renewable energy, while customers pay a contractual fee. Barriers to entry as well as supportive and constricting policies are explained.

    Breakthrough without subsidies? PV business model experiments in the Netherlands

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    J.C.C.M. Huijben; G.P.J. Verbong

    Source: 

    Eindhoven university of technology, School of Innovation Sciences

    Year: 

    2013

    European markets are realtively imbalanced in regard to solar consumption, with Germany and Italy dominating the industry. Moreover, solar as a service or third party owned solar has yet to be as prominent in Europe as in the United States. In the United States changes in legislation allowed for the proliferation of the industry. Advantages of TPO solar companies is that initial investment costs are steeply reduced and the technological challenges of installation become a non-issue when left to a company. These act as major incentives and advantages to buy in. In the Netherlands some small...

    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    European Commission

    Year: 

    2011

    Construction accounts for 50% of all extracted material use in the EU. The European Commission calls for a further strengthening of resource efficiency in buildings and construction by considering the lifetime costs of a building rather than just the initial costs and also better infrastructure planning. They have set the 2020 milestone to have the majority of rennovation and constuction standards to be of high efficiency standards.

    Tracking the Flow of Resources in Electronic Waste - The Case of End-of-Life Computer Hard Disk Drives

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Komal Habib, Keshav Parajuly, and Henrik Wenzel

    Source: 

    Environ. Sci. Technol.

    Year: 

    2015

    Recovery of resources, in particular, metals, from waste flows is widely seen as a prioritized option to reduce their potential supply constraints in the future. The current waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) treatment system is more focused on bulk metals, where the recycling rate of specialty metals, such as rare earths, is negligible compared to their increasing use in modern products, such as electronics. This study investigates the challenges in recovering these resources in the existing WEEE treatment system. It is illustrated by following the material flows of...

    Recycling of metals from urban mines- a strategic evaluation

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Zhi Sun, Yanping Xiao, Hanneke Agterhuis, Jilt Sietsma, Yongxiang Yang

    Source: 

    Journal of Cleaner Production

    Year: 

    2015

    Urban mining has attracted increasing attention as a research topic, owing to the high growth rate, environmental issues, and market potential of waste generated in urban areas. Metal recovery from such waste has become increasingly important especially in accordance with the concept of metal criticality. This study develops a model by evaluating various types of urban waste in order to understand the criticality of these waste streams and determine their potential for metal recovery. Two factors, i.e. the resource index and technology index, are defined and assessed through a systematic...

    Recycling of WEEE's: An economic assessment of present and future e-waste streams

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Federica Cucchiella, Idiano D'Adamo, S.C.Lenny Koh, Paolo Rosa...

    Source: 

    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

    Year: 

    2015

    Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipments (WEEEs) is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an estimated growth rate going from 3% up to 5% per year. The recycling of Electric or electronic waste (E-waste) products could allow the diminishing use of virgin resources in manufacturing and, consequently, it could contribute in reducing the environmental pollution. Given that EU is trying, since the last two decades, to develop a circular economy based on the exploitation of resources recovered by wastes, a comprehensive framework supporting...

    Recycling of rare earths: a critical review

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Koen Binnemans, Peter Tom Jones, Bart Blanpain, Tom Van Gerven, Yongxiang Yang, Allan Walton, Matt-hias Buchert

    Source: 

    Journal of Cleaner Production

    Year: 

    2013

    The rare-earth elements (REEs) are becoming increasingly important in the transition to a green economy, due to their essential role in permanent magnets, lamp phosphors, catalysts, rechargeable batteries etc. With China presently producing more than 90% of the global REE output and its increasingly tight export quota, the rest of the world is confronted with a REE supply risk. Mining companies are now actively seeking new exploitable REE deposits while some old mines are being reopened. Because of the absence of economical and/or operational primary deposits on their territory, many...

    A Strategy for Material Supply Chain Sustainability: Enabling a Circular Economy in the Electronics Industry through Green Engineering

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Megan P. O'Connor, Julie B. Zimmerman, Paul T. Anastas, and Desiree L. Plata...

    Source: 

    ACS Sustainable Che. Eng.

    Year: 

    2016

    Rapid innovation in the field of electronic technologies through the use of rare earth and specialty elements (RESE) has made the electronics industry one of the most rapidly evolving industries to date. However, innovations to har-vest these same materials from complex waste streams have not kept pace, thus leading to an unsustainable material supply chain reliant on the mining of increasingly difficult-to-extract ores. Here, we aim to provide a strategy to mitigate these challenges, identifying the technical research and development needed to further sustainable electronics through Green...

    Priorities for critical materials for a circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    EASAC

    Year: 

    2016

    "This report reviews briefly the historical criteria for critical raw materials currently under review by the Commission and the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and notes that many critical materials still have very low recycling rates which increases the demand for virgin materials and therefore reduces lifetime of supply. EASAC is in broad agreement with the criteria that the Commission proposes to apply in selecting critical materials for the new list in 2017 but notes that environmental impacts of extraction of raw materials are substantial and should be considered in the criticality...

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